New immigrants often face a set of barriers unique to them. More often than not, these immigrants have a set of skills or level of education which is, unfortunately, not recognized in Canada. This leaves many new Canadians working low paying or part time work outside of their field of experience.
At Ashton College, we recognize the obstacles that many immigrants face. All Canadians, whether born or adopted, should have the opportunity to pursue their dream careers and Ashton College wants to provide them with the skills necessary to succeed in Canada.
In 2005 Ashton College partnered with Canadian Immigrant Magazine to offer full time tuition bursaries to newly landed immigrants in memory of Lilian To.
Lilian To was a crusader for immigrants and the longtime executive director and CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S – a multi-service community organization that provides assistance to new immigrants. After Mrs. To’s sudden death in 2005, the bursaries were created to ensure that her work with immigrants continues by addressing the challenges they face when trying to secure a stable career in Canada.
The bursaries are rewarded to four outstanding students to cover full-time tuition which includes a range of Ashton College programs.
Melissa Briones, our 2012 winner, was encouraged to apply for the Lilian To bursary by a friend, who had been a recipient some years before. Arriving in Canada in 2011, Melissa came to Vancouver with a desire to provide more opportunities for her children and family is at the heart of why she applied for the bursary. “It was a way for me to obtain what I want for my family, which is to have a better life,” she says.
The winners are chosen by an external panel of four judges after submitting an essay detailing financial struggles, past education, community involvement, and future career plans. A reference letter from a previous instructor/employer is also required. Once these criteria have been considered, the four most outstanding applicants are chosen!
This year’s winners are Rabia Ikram, Avril deSouza, Qunying Xue, and Frances Grace Quiddaoen. Each winner has a full year to redeem their bursary for the Ashton College program of their choosing.